To challenge socio-economic inequalities through social mobilization of marginalized women. To enable sustainable livelihood towards self reliance through viable financial and other support services.


Mobilize and harness the power of poor women at large to combat illiteracy, ignorance, gender discrimination with an ultimate aim of providing wide range of financial services for productive income generation activities.


  • To alleviate poverty and enhance Socio-economic development of poor women.
  • To improve women’s access to economic resources.
  • To promote women’s participation and leadership in decision making at all levels through collective consciousness.
  • To promote equal opportunities for poor marginalized women through self-help, self management process.
  • To provide financial services predominantly for poor women.
  • To provide relevant training for leadership, financial literacy, healthcare, skill training, etc., towards enhancement of micro-entrepreneurship and women’s empowerment.  

About the Founder

Dr. Jaya Arunachalam, President, Working Women's Forum (India) a pioneer in social mobilization-strategy committed to transform women in extreme poverty into powerful and confident leaders of many households, equal partners in community/ neighbourhood. A graduate in Economics and Geography, Diploma in Management, Washington, USA, was awarded 'Padmasri' in 1987 by the President of India for her distinguished services/work among the poor women in Working Women's Forum(India), Stree Shakthi Puraskar by the Tamil Nadu State Government in 2002.
Internationally she was awarded Honorary Doctorate from the University of Lueneburg (Germany) in 1999; International Activist Award by the Glietsman Foundation, USA in 2003; Global Leadership for Economic Development by Vital Voices, USA, in 2005; 12th Mandavelli Award from Erasmus University, Rotterdam, Netherlands in 2006. Besides she has received several honours/awards from many civilian organizations in India for replication of WWF's model among other poor women entrepreneurs in other parts of India through training/ orientation.

She joined former U.S. President Hon'ble Mr. Bill Clinton for a two day meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Asia Meet, Hong Kong on December 2 & 3, 2008 to share the exemplary work of working Women's Forum (India). She was awarded the Jamnalal Bajaj Award 2009 for the welfare/development of women and children on 6 November 2009 in Mumbai and recently she was honoured with Godfrey Phillips National Bravery Social Lifetime Achievement Award 2010 on 11 November 2010. U.S. Secretary of State Madam Hillary Clinton Visited WWF on 20 July 2011. The visit is significant as WWF has been identified due to its unique experiment adopted among the grassroot women. 

About the President

Dr.Nandini Azad is a senior women leader in the cooperative movement at the International, Regional and National levels. She is currently elected Vice Chairperson and acting Chairperson of the International Cooperative Alliance for Asia Pacific (ICA-AP) Women’s Committee. She is a special invitee on gender diversity to the International Raiffeison Union board (IRU).

An elected President of the Indian Cooperative Network for Women, she is a member of the National Cooperative Union of India’s Women’s Empowerment Committee. She is also board member of the National Women’s Credit Fund (The Rashtriya Mahila Kosh, Ministry of Women, Government of India) and was Chairperson of its Revitalization Committee. With a Ph.D, (Syracuse University, USA) on women’s credit groups in cooperatives, she has worked extensively at senior levels at and in the Indian Government  (Planning Commission, Women, Youth, Finance Ministries), multi-lateral agencies (IFAD, ADB, UNDP, ILO, FAO etc.), on international, regional  assignments. She was invited to the UN High Level Political Dialogue panel on SDGs to the World Cooperative Day at UN Plaza, New York in July 2017.

A founder member of the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD), Bangkok and GROOTS International, the Cambodian Foreign Minister commended her (1993) for developing the Beijing Country Report on women after the war. She has worked extensively and written  (Nepal, Maldives, Cambodia, India, Sri Lanka etc.), on gender and financial inclusion, poverty, gendered cooperatives and gender based violence.  She undertook and presented the ICA-AP pioneering study of 26-country gender disaggregated data in cooperatives in the Asia Pacific region at the Asia Pacific Cooperative Ministers’ Conference in Hanoi (APCMC). She was also invited to present in 2015 to the NITI Aayog, Government of India (the Indian government think tank) “A Gender Strategy Paper for Poverty Reduction, May 20th 2015 to the National Taskforce on Poverty Reduction.

She was Chair of the Plenary Session at the “ Promoting Microfinance for Economic Development workshop in IORA region” organized by the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) in April, 2015, Bangladesh (to highlight the Indian experience in Microfinance).  She was an international technical Advisor to the Asia Pacific Micro Credit summit in 2002 in New Delhi and on major panels on poor women and financial inclusion in Asia-Pacific at (Bali) and the Global Micro-Credit Summit (2008), Global Micro-credit summit in Spain (2012). 

At the UNESCAP - High Level policy Dialogue on Regional Cooperation and Inclusive Development in South and South-West Asia, 18-19th October 2012, she presented a paper “Harmonizing Inclusion with Growth: Lessons from Multi stakeholders in Agriculture and Food security”.

As Chairperson of the Independent Commission for People’s Rights Trust, she innovated the path-breaking new program of engaging young men and boys to form youth forums for gender equality and gender based violence.